NHS - Gamma Knife


Frequently asked Questions

How Long will I be in Hospital?

In the majority of cases you will come to the hospital the day before treatment, will register with the ward where you will be directed to your overnight accommodation. The type of accomodation will have been dicussed previously and will depend on you individual clinical needs. This could be either a stay on the ward, in a patient accommadation block or a nearby hotel.  You  will normally be able to go home the day after your Gamma Knife treatment, so you will be away from home for two  nights.


Will I have any hair shaved off? 

 In normal circumstances this would not be neccessary.


Will it hurt? 
The placement of frame takes place using a local anaesthetic there may be slight discomfort at first until the anaesthetic begins to work. The rest of the treatment is painless and some patients fall asleep during treatment while others listen to music.


How will I feel afterwards?

Some patients feel tired and may have a mild headache, but this is usually the result of the tensions of the day.

Is it safe? 

Uncontrolled radiation can be dangerous but the gamma rays used in Gamma Knife radiosurgery treatment are given in controlled, carefully measured doses. The aim is to treat the illness while minimising the risk of harm to adjacent tissues.


Will I see anything? 

The Cobalt sources in the 'gamma knife' produce gamma rays which cannot be seen or felt. It is much like having an X-ray taken.


Will I be Radioactive?

No. Patients treated by this method do not become radioactive. No radiation will stay in your body so you cannot harm anyone else, and it is perfectly safe to mix with other people.


Can I continue to work? 

On returning home you should be able to resume normal life, if you feel well there is no need to change your lifestyle. Whether you go back to work or not will depend on many factors which you may need to discuss with your partner and your local doctors.

How long is it before the treatment begins to work? 

The effects of the Gamma Knife treatment are not immediate, and the details of this will be explained to you when you come to hospital. You will have follow-up examinations at your local hospital, who will send the information to Sheffield for assessment.


How long does the treatment last?

Most treatment sessions begin between 8.00 and 8.30am with the frame placement and diagnostic studies. The actual time for the radiation treatment varies for each patient. The whole procedure is usually completed by late afternoon.  Some sessions commence in the afternoon (between 12.00 and 12.30pm) with the procedures finished by the early evening.


Will I be able to drive after treatment?

The DVLA guidance relating to Stereotactic Radiosurgery has changed depending on the condition and area within the brain treated. It is advisable to ask the consultant when attending your clinic appointment.